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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  March 26, 2017 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT

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find out how american express cards and services can help prepare you for growth at open.com. welcome to "the point." two-hour show digging deeper into trump presidency. you join the conversation at the point on twitter. reveali reveali revealing chasms. the fbi confirming its russia inquiry. this is just getting started. news tonight on the growing number of targets. indications the fbi reviewing web traffic for breitbart. we have an explainer on how these intel investigations actually work. then the other story this week. family conflict. how the white house is dubbing those anti-nepotism laws to give
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ivanka trump a promotion. nepotism in the government. all coming up here on "the point" tonight. tensions boiling over after the major health care defeat splashed across the headlines, civil war and dealmaker who could not close. what does it mean for battles in congress tomorrow? trump digging in to attack fellow republicans, not democrats. a risky strategy given the support he needs for republican plans on tacks and immigration. trump attacking the conservative freedom caucus and reince priebus doubling down on that civil war. >> i think the president is 100% correct and hits the bull's eye in that tweet like he often es. >> bull's eye, a twist that can only come from trump white house. recommendation have his aides on defense. you might have heard a tweet
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people should watch a fox news show right before it called for an ouster of paul ryan. >> paul ryan needs to step down as speaker of the house. the reason, he failed to deliver the votes on his health care bill. >> let's be fair, i think everyone knows by now, retweets are not endorsements. trump aides say the president didn't know that show would attack ryan and the fox host said she didn't give trump a heads up. at a time when any other white house would be working behind the scenes to avoid another embarrassment like friday's failed floor vote, might be turning the page to focus on supreme court or tax reform, we have here another example of the administration of one. a president who sets policy strategy and message regardless of the facts on the ground. consider tonight the policy is no health care plan because of the president's self-imposed arbitrary deadline. the strategy is to attack the
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freedom caucus, the group of hard-liners who effectively blocked speaker boehner and president obama focusing on them right now is like picking a fight with a bouncer. and then you have the president's message on twitter. watch fox news. if you're hearing about that from me right here at msnbc, you are obviously off message. let's get right to it. i have the nation's joan walsh, nbc analyst david corn, msnbc contributor victoria francesco and reporter all up in this story for a loong time obamacare export john coen. i'll get to you but joan starting with politics, the white house here not doing what the aides think would be the strategic page turn but just responding to damage control of president trump. >> because that's what he does. he's just going to fire back at these people he thinks have hurt
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him, ari, without any strategy down the road, how are we going to get tax reform done if we're making enemies of freedom caucus. there is a strategy out there conceivably to work with democrats. in one interview today he seemed to threaten to do that. i don't believe that either. he doesn't have a strategy. it's all about revenge. he's trying to take it on the tree dom caucus and maybe paul ryan. i don't know what we should believe about that timely tweet. this is a disaster. he would promise us we would win so much we would be sick of winning and i has lost again and again. >> i just want to get you on the record, though. are you saying you're not tired of winning yet. >> i'm tired because my side is winning. >> you're tired of winning. >> you are tired of winning? >> yes. i don't think i was who he was talking about. but as it turns out, we're winning to much we're almost tired of it. we can win a little more. >> david, i don't know how tired you are. >> go ahead. >> ari, i am just tired. >> i'm not tired yet the show
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tonight. let me ask you to compare joan's word, disaster, with steve bannon's word according to multiple associates of the "new york times," i'll read and get your response. bannon according to people familiar with the white house discussions described the president's decision to withdraw the health care bill as a flat-out failure that could inflict serious damage on this presidency, david. >> well, i do think it showed him in a very weak spot. he said the day before hand he was going to demand a vote. he decided not to demand a vote. this is a guy who said you've got to be strong, willing to walk away. to pick up on joan's point, something i wrote about during the campaign, i went back and watched a lot of his speeches when he would speak to the learning annex and do these paid for speeches at success seminars, he said time and time and time again he had one rule, first rule of business you don't hear at the harvard business
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school, if someone screws you, you screw them back. you don't just screw them back, you screw them back five times, ten times, fifteen times greater than they screwed you. i don't know how many times i heard him or heard video of him saying this. i can only imagine it's engrained in his dna, if it's paul ryan, freedom caucus, whoever he thinks screwed him on this, actually he screwed himself because he didn't do a good job, they are in for, from his perspective, a world of hurt, make it harder for them to get tax reform to help people like donald trump pay taxes. >> david, the point is it's a family show and you said screw about 15 times. >> i was quoting the president. >> i want to be clear about that and to your point if i can add some journalism to your flowery history, i will tell you, buddy, you're not off track. "n york mes" a reporting on potential enemy's list. one republican, congressional
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aide said mr. bannon and another associate seeking to compile an enemy's list. yet, video cassette, donald trump may be new to this. a lot of other people aren't, the freedom caucus aren't the people you want to make your enemy. >> you do not want to mess with the freedom caucus. we know their reason of being was to fight leadership. they gave john boehner nightmares and i think paul ryan is experiencing the same nightmares today. so i think the person that donald trump has to figure out how he's going to figure out how he's going to get along with is paul ryan. for me paul ryan is irrelevant. it's about the freedom caucus. goes back to that bargain republicans made, those chamber of commerce moderate republicans said, okay, well, we'll take your extremist conservative views if you give us that pumped up majority. and now it's coming back and biting them in the butt. so we have a freedom caucus that i think is emboldened.
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as we go forward is going to keep testing the waters. donald trump is going to get angrier and angrier and it's just going to blow up. >> john, freedom caucus, these are the ones that went after obamacare funding, debt ceiling standoff where they were willing to risk everyone's 401(k)s, planned "parenthood" standoff and sequester funding cuts, john. >> the freedom caucus, they are absolutists. they are purists. what we see now, what victoria was saying before, republicans are paying the price for embracing that. saying yes, this is our ideology. we want to tear everything down. when you commit your self to that kind of extremist agenda, then you shouldn't be surprised when you try to govern and try to pass something that's not quite as extremist as they look. that part of party will say, wait, that's wrong.
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you need to be with us 100%. they created the problem in the republican party when they embraced it and they are paying the price for that. >> david, the level of our reporting and source in washington, do you think donald trump knows who he's talking to here? >> no. i don't think he knows who he's talking to. i don't think he knows the policy details. "politico" did a great tick-tock behind the scenes that came out yesterday. had a meeting with the freedom caucus. they were asking him all these questions about policy matters, that provision of the health care bill. we need to tweak that. forget the little -- can't say this, it's fil television. i'll say crap but he said something else. forget that. these people don't want to forget that. they do care about details in terms of destroying things. the fact he couldn't talk about policy. how many town hall meetings,
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speeches did he give about his health care bill. the answer is zero. he can't talk the policy. he doesn't understand the system. he doesn't understand the people he's working with. he can't just bully people like he did on his tv show. until he figures that out, he's in for a lot more trouble. >> john, isn't that the bizarre part of this. can you be a really good negotiator. if you're trying to buy a car, you have to have a conversation about does the car have ac or not. what are you paying for. at basic level, i don't mean to oversimplify it but you want to do this negotiation, not talking about the features of the car, the health care plan. in your plan, what are the sticking points that scuttled this deal with freedom caucus. >> the freedom caucus doesn't believe in universal health care, period. they don't think it's the government's job to help people get health insurance. any program that preserved even a piece of obamacare. the bill the republicans were looking at was very extreme. 24 million people would have lost insurance. but some people would have
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remained on medicaid, some people would have still gotten some assistance. as far as the freedom caucus, there would have been some regulations on what insurance you can buy to make sure it wasn't junk insurance, as far as the freedom caucus was concerned that's too much. they wan to bur i down. they don'tant government helping people get insurance. any story that went two steps in that direction was too much for them. >> as for the steps, another trump official mick mulvaney saying maybe freedom caucus, maybe the moderates. >> what you have is the status quo wins and unfortunately folks back home lost. plame it on the freedom caucus if you want to but more moderates. more importantly we haven't been able to change washington in the first 65 days. >> victoria, put that in political context for us. when he says there's not a lot of moderates, that's not usually a bad bad word in american politics. most voters went for the candidate that was for
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obamacare. a lot of moderates for some version of obamacare which doesn't mean it's perfect lord knows but the moderate position is not blow it up. >> and that is the thing about this republican bind they find themselves in. they are a big tent party but their big tent can't get along. at the end of the day, even though right now donald trump is very angry and blustery that his bill did not get through, i do think for donald trump and his base of supporters, those older rural americans that are also represented by the more moderate republicans in his party, there's that saying that thank god for prayers unanswered. i think in the long-term, had congress, this wld have do an lot of damage to donald trump because of his voter base. i think those moderate republicans saw that danger up ahead and that's why they were biting their nails. >> that's right. victoria, john, thank you so much. david corn and joe walsh, stay
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with us. family programming continuing. battles went beyond health care front. there was fbi confirming russian inquiry. supreme court hearing, filibuster. new regulations for wall street. president trump had a lot to choose from in his formal weekly address. naturally he settled on space exploration. >> fellow americans, this week in the company of astronauts i was honored to sign the nasa transition authorization act right into law. with this legislation, we renew our national commitment to nasa's mission of exploration and discovery. >> you can't make it up, and you don't need to. we're not actually going to do more on the nasa story. it's a journalistic choice we're going to have to live with. but we have a report coming up on that wall street battle you might have missed a story trump might not want in the news and why it's important.
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welcome back to "the point," the collapse to rebeal obamacare isn't the only defeat. fbi confirming the russia probe under way. trump facing a filibuster threat growing from democrats over his supreme court nominee neil gorsuch and now the commander in chief who famously vowed to drain the swamp has a bra-new walking mess of conflicts. it's all about this man. you may not have heard much about him. plans to lead security and exchange commission, the job for wall street.
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senator warren pointed out trump's own executive order on ethics, get this, would take clayton out of the game for two years because he's been in the game working for wall street. >> so based on your personal client disclosures then for half of your tenure as s.e.c. chair, you would not be able to vote to enforce the law against several big banks including goldman sachs, deutsche bank, barclays and ubs, is that right? >> yes, senator. >> thank you. those banks have repeated by violated securities laws in the past few years. if they violate securities laws again in your first two years as s.e.c. chairman, you can't vote to punish them. >> as the nation reports clayton represented wall street banks during his career, goldman sachs lawyer, bailout, defended financial and foreclosure fraud settlement with the u.s. government. with us we have a power panel of
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experts. professor of policy management and sior vice president of social justice at nyu here, the new school in new york. also richard farley,out of wall street wars, epic battle wall street system. back with us david corn, chief of mother jones. is this a problem for enforcement and what about the argument trump officials and others have made there's nothing wrong with knowing about the industry you're going to oversee? >> it's the fox guarding the henhouse. so i think it's a problem. it's a problem both because it's a credibility issue. the american public has not recovered actually from a subprime crisis. ubs, one of the clients, actually was at the forefront of one of the scandals around some of the subprime bundling that was happening. i think this is something where it's critically important we
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have something we can enforce the law and take it seriously and enforce it aggressively. >> david, should democrats dig into this and does this candidate potentially warrant a filibuster like the supreme court nominee announced this week. >> i think you could filibuster many of his nominees. this is certainly pretty egregious. it's not surprising. i hate to say this. i don't want to dismiss the importance of this story but donald trump owed deutsche bank $300 million or maybe more. we don't have the details on his relationship w deutsche bank, while deutsche bank under investigation by u.s. and russian money laundering. picking clayton is the apple not falling far from the tree. this is an administration of either cronyism or you'll get to later nepotism. clayton is a wonderful poster
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boy and democrats would rightly try to, you know, make the public aware of that. >> richard? >> well, i think it's a fine choice. i think the fox guarding the henhouse is precisely the same phrase used to criticizes fdr's choice of joe kennedy as first head of the s.e.c. i think the notion because you work in an industry and at a law firm that represents players in that industry that you are somehow compromised or conflicted in any sort of fatal way is preposterous. >> do you think it's fwer he worked for goldman? >> he didn't work for goldman, he worked for a fine firm that sent many civil servants to washington. >> go lawyer for lawyer, sullivan was the law firm that represented goldman sachs. >> right. nothing wrong with that. i think if you look at mary joe white, barack obama's choice and mr. clayton, i think you would
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have a long time -- spend a long time fruitlessly trying to find a distinct between the types of clients they represent. >> but mary jo white. >> maya first. >> mary jo white had been a u.s. attorney and already demonstrated she would go after wall street so she had a track record on this before she got the position. >> she was a lawyer in private practice before she was u.s. attorney. if you follow this logic to its conclusion, no one could be appointed to any position over that nature if you happen to be at a wall street bank or representing wall street banks. who are you going to find who populate these offices? who has the level of confidence in the marketplace and do an effective job? if you start with the proposition if you work for or represent a particular constituency you cannot regulate them, i think you're going to be doing your self a disservice. if you look at history it's turned out the other way in terms of confidence and rigorous oversight. >> david, how about if we amend that to say, yeah, sure, but you have to demonstrate some
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interest and credibility and experience in regulating and being able to show, because undoubtedly you'll be going back in the private sector, that you can bite the hand that fed you and may feed you in the future. i understand the point there's expertise and very technical stuff. at the same time i think you need to demonstrate that you're willing to take on wall street when donald trump, of course, has said that he is not willing to do that. >> let me drill it because we've looked at that issue there and it's interesting. richard, let me drill it to the ethical standards. both parties have strug told come up with these rules. they are difficult. but what you have here is the point elizabeth warren made. let's stipulate you could represent these clients and still be tough and that's okay. the turret solution from this administration is a type of walk back and recusal. so now you picked someone by this choice means goldman now gets a sublevel treatment because he's conflicted out for
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two years. that's half the term. >> if you have a fully populated s.e.c., commissioners, right? the idea someone can show up to the job with confidence, operate in the securities market without a conflict i think is naive. it's not going to happen. >> he's got a lot of conflicts and the chair. he's the chair of the commission. as we know, leadership matters on these commissions. it's part of what you do, negotiate with your commissioners. to suggest it doesn't matter he's conflicted, i agree i'm not suggesting you can't have someone from the industry ever in the role. i think the question is, who is the person, what have they demonstrated and how compromised will they be when they were actually sitting in the seat. >> final thoughts. i know this is a hot topic. >> i want to see an example why we ought to take the notion he's compromised. show me the example. >> david, then richard, then we're out. david. >> to me the question is, it is
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experience on his resume. has he shown he's willing to go after wall street tough and be a good cop on the beat putting these conflicts aside? we don't have that record to look at. >> neither did joe kennedy. >> that was how many years ago. >> doesn't matter. >> a century ago. >> there is a statute of limitations on ethics. >> that was a long time ago. >> in court this is a hotbed. i'm glad we covered this. didn't get enough attention during the week. a final word to "the point" viewer, wrote in #thepoint on twitter, views, asked whether this person should be confirmed. no, he's got too many friends that will benefit. richard, i trust you will track down that person on twitter and talk to them about joe kennedy as well. >> or mary jo white. >> u.s. attorney that went after wall street. >> my point was not to extend the segment. thank you all.
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>> sure thing. >> two months in, the trump administration setting records for misstatements, false hoods and, yes, lies. "time" magazine making waves with, is trust dead. that's the topic in the next segment. normal or not. the particular compromised role of sean spicer. i no longer live with the uncertainties of hep c. wondering, what if? i let go of all those feelings. because i am cured with harvoni.
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don't start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. joint pain and damage... can go side by side. ask how enbrel can help relieve joint pain and help stop joint damage. enbrel, the number one rheumatologist-prescribed biologic. what about the iraqi information minister to the very end. >> he's my man. he was great. somebody accused us of hiring him and putting him there. >> welcome to normal or not where we report on whether a development in the trump administration is normal. today we look at the government's relationship to the truth as "time" magazine asks whether the truth is dead in trump's america. the u.s. government doesn't have a ministry of truth but there is a long-standing tension between what governments want to be true and what is true. take one of the most extreme
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examples of that tension, baghdad bob. he was the former iraqi minister of information, mohammed al saf and briefed with impossible mission to convince the world iraq was winning a war it was losing. given the reality on the battlefield, that was a thankless task. baghdad bob was reporting to a thankless boss accustomed to getting his own way and preferred false narrative to cold truths. saddam hussein had explicit demands for his spokesman because controlling reality was essential feature of his dictatorship. the comparison here is about governments and trust, not the policies of each government and certainly not any moral equivalents between tt iraqi administration and any u.s. ones. some of shauns spifean spicer's
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more like briefing. he does not work for donald trump he's a taxpayer funded employee with a duty to work for all americans. >> before i get to the news of the day, i think i'd like to discuss a little bit of the coverage of the last 24 hours. >> the fighting is there. we are surrounding them, fighting them. >> photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way to minimize the enormous support it gathered on the national mall. >> it's a lie. it's completely baseless. >> you're coming to serious conclusions for guy who has zero intelligence -- >> this is silly, stupid, and this completely a lie. >> this was irresponsible and reckless. >> they started retreating and we have inflicted in them heavy casualties. >> there's been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold donald trump accountable.
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>> we besoonlged them aieged th >> it goes both ways. we're going to hold the press accotable as well. >> the last line from spicer might be the most telling. this administration literally says it's here to hold the press accountable. but in the united states, the government is not supposed to hold the press accountable, it's not even supposed to sbeer fear with how the press does its job. that's why the framers made the first amendment any ban on congress making any law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press. even beyond that rule, why would anyone trust such a fact chal he could white house to be an ombudsman for independent reporting. >> real employment is anywhere from 18 to 20%. don't believe the 5.6. don't believe it. they show those phony statistics where we're 5.4 unemployment. the real number -- i actually
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saw a number could be 42%, believe it or not. these are the real unemployment numbers. the 5% figure is one of the biggest hoaxes in american modern politics. >> those statements were false and as president trump went on to cite that exact same labor data when it made him look good. a hoax indeed. all presidents have battles with the press. a few suggested the government has a monopoly on the truth. why would that bizarre argument, which isn't conservative, by the way, be so important for this administration? well today, we have a clue for you. 69% of trump's statements have been found to be mostly false by politifact including the potentially libelous charge that president obama wiretapped trump's skyscraper. a "wall street journal" editorial page stated trump is clinging to that assertion about
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obama like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims. yes, the gin may be running out but there is still a message in that bottle. it's an s. o.s. to the world, as sting might say. the government that lies the most is trusted the least. an effective voice of a government must find its way back to the truth or lose the one thing that makes the spokesman worth listening to, credibility. tensions with the press are normal. a spokesman who has blown up his own reason for existing, that's not normal. when we come back, for every action there's a reaction. as trump's actions flounder, what is the reaction from democrats winning this key victory for obamacare right now? some say dems should seize on friday's meltdown to score points. others say if your opponents are fighting themselves, don't get in the ring. should democrats go big or keep
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laying in the cut. we have a political power panel for that. power panel on ice. this week two of trump's top advisers vacationing in aspen instead of working. they also happen to be members of his family. do they get preemption treatmen treatment. dear predictable, there's no other way to say this. it's over. i've found a permanent escape from monotony.
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looking ahead to this new week, there is still a question of what democrats should do following that gop failure on the health care bill. this all happened pretty fast for the republicans. this morning republican senator tom cotton said a lengthy process that obamacare went through originally was better and that house republicans should have taken more than 17 days to work on this fundamental restructuring of the health care system. >> a more careful and tlibt
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approach which we now have time to do because we're going to have to revisit health care anyway would have gotten us further down the path for solution. >> donald trump is still playing i know you are, what am i. freedom caucus i reported at the top of the hour, also open to bipartisanship. senator chuck schumer responding to that today. >> stop undermining aca and we'll work with them. we have ideas, they have ideas to try to improve obamacare. we never said it was perfect. we always said work with them to improve it, said repeal was off the stab. >> choices fing democrats, joan walsh at the nation political science professor and former karl rove aide and speechwriter for president trump. nice to see all of you. what do democrats do. >> they have had their victory laps and now time to get back to
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work. the democrats didn't do anything, it's the people that push pressure on their elected officials. so the democrats are great, pat your self on the back. however, it is the citizens of this country that called representatives, called democrats. many moderate republicans called their elected officials and put pressure on them as well. so now it's time to get to work. they need to really articulate what the aca has done. they need to make sure the general public understands we cannot have 22 million people without health care. this is a bill republicans put forward and should have been a failure. they need to talk and galvanize. they have a lot of elections coming up this year and next year. if they have got people excited, stick with that and have something to say. >> part of me says let them continue to implode. what we see is a party that cannot govern at this point. moderates cannot get along with freedom caucus and people in the
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middle have no real as far as i can tell, real values. i also like what bernie sanders is doing, which is trying to revive medicare for all. paul starr writing about midlife medicare. we learned something. we learned a little more about both obamacare and our broken health system when we found out that the republicans actually wanted to make people 50 to 64 pay more. they wanted to bring back that age tax. maybe it's time both to strengthen medicare as well as to make the exchange risk pools a little healthier, to take that healthy old or sick young, i'm in that group, so i don't know what i am, but take that group, give them security, let them buy into medicare, strengthen both systems. if republicans want to come along, moderate republicans wan to come along, that would be great. >> i want to get giancarlo in here. i've known you a while and never
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seen you age. >> wow. >> i'm not going to ask you to state your age on television but i know you are older than you look. i just want to say that right out of the gate with the aging conversation. >> i'm not sure where we're going with this but let's go. >> that's the joy of "the point," no one thost where we're going. this is where we're going to go. chuck schumer on gorsuch looking at the filibuster which i'm sure you have feelings about that and hitting hard. do democrats want to be driving. take a listen. >> when we democrats had a chance to change the rules, we didn't change it for supreme court for that very reason. i say to my republican friends and to the country, if you don't k the candidate -- if the candidate can't get 60 votes, nominee can't get 60 votes you don't change the rules, you change the candidate. >> if he does not get 60 votes, the republicans owe the american people the obligation of bringing forward somebody who is more moderate. >> sounds like yes, you're for a filibuster. >> that's what the -- it's not a
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question of filibuster. i am for the republicans obeying the rules that currently exist and not changing those rules. >> what are we hearing politically? what are they teeing up. >> what you're hearing is something i would call vindictive partisanship, the only robbery democrats would deny gorsuch the vote he deserves and frankly an affirmation of his nomination. this is a man who by all accounts is more than qualified to serve on the bench. if you're against him because he's a conservative, fair enough. there are not enough democrats against him purely on ideological grounds to deny him a confirmation. let me finish. and to force the republicans into a corner to unleash the so-called nuclear option all while you are not disrupting the current ballot court. this is not -- this is a one for one trade for dearly departed justice scalia. >> i'll let you finish your
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thoughts and get a rebuttal. foup or down vote. 're calling >> correct. >> did merrick garland deserve up or down vote. >> not according to joe biden. >> you think merrick garland did deserve up or down vote. >> do i. >> talk about vindictive partisanship, come on, what mitch mcconnell did was take away a year of barack obama's presidency. who has done that to a sitting president. democrats are angry. i was going use a nonfamily word but got me on that now. i want to point out to you mitch mcconnell did two outrageous things. he denied merrick garland even a hearing. he did something in october that tied these issues inextricably together, he denied barack obama the chance to have bipartisan consensus statement that the russians were hacking, interfering with our election probably against hillary clinton. he said that he was going to block that and he was going to
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make the case that was a partisan move on obama's part we know now. >> giancarlo and then christiana. >> all these arguments held water if we hadn't unearthed the tape of joe biden. it wasn't theoretical. >> it didn't happen. >> an outrage. >> interesting. >> christiana, christina. >> this republican amnesia, we didn't get to a hearing because republicans wouldn't have a conversation with him. they wouldn't invite merrick garland to theirice to sit down and say, y, how is it going? so we didn't even have that conversation as democrats. then you have the president of the united states saying, well, it didn't pass because we didn't have bipartisanship. when have the republicans supported one single thing barack obama did. there was zero republican support when it came to aca for a horrible bill that would
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have -- >> what i'm hearing is we can't let the gorsuch vote go through because republicans did the same thing. >> yeah. it's about time for democrats to strengthen their spines. >> yeah, to me it is. >> they did it to us. >> sounds like you learned something. >> every time i come here. >> how old are you? >> that's a follow-up? >> joan, christina, giancarlo, passionate about an issue for. did you know your social media fee could have been part of one of the biggest cyber in history, dropping the bomb on fbi investigation into collusion between right wing news sites incredibly possibly between breitbart and russian operatives. it's an incredible story for you and we have it after the break. you don't let anything keep you sidelined.
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we were in a german dance group. i wore lederhosen. so i just started poking around on ancestry. then, i decided to have my dna tested through ancestry dna. it turns out i'm scottish. so, i traded in my lederhosen for a kilt. your social media feed may have been part of russia's
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interferen ithe election. some new sites like breitbart benefited from or colluded with russian operatives during the campaign. the issue is how sophisticated computer bots simulating organic political activity, computer bots pushing articles and fake news out on social media to simulate interests from american readers or voters. here is an example from october 17th, that was, of course, the homestretch of the campaign, clinton hitting her highest poll position, up eight points. trump near his lowest and suffering from that access hollywood leak until another leak hit, wikileaks e-mails, trump allies used to attack clinton and trump pounced that night. >> newly released fbi documents made public just today reveal just how deep this corruption goes. you saw it. >> that was a shift in the conversation. clinton's polls took a hit and there is nothing wrong, of
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course, with voters hearing new information and maybe changing their minds. but this federal inquiry is now looking at how russia may have distorted that information, the bots allegedly pushing links to stories about clinton e-mails with false, even potentially defamatory content like that libelous charge that clinton oversaw a criminal enterprise at a pizza parlor in washington, sources telling mcclatchy the bots targeted millions of twitter and facebook posts carrying links to stories on conservative internet sites such as breitbart and info wars. president's chief strateg steve bannon was runnin breitbart until august and fbi says the russian investigation began in july. breitbart, we should note, says it has record web traffic as of november. the election drew so much critt sixx for fake news that donald trump himself tried to reappropriate the term, as an insult to fact all news. like it or not, we know a lot more about fake news as a phenomenon now. what is new here and this new
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report is how foreign adversaries may have weaponized fake news. it is one thing to believe the worst about your political opponents, it is another to believe the worst about them and only find out later you were duped by a foreign campaign to distort the election. now, add to that reality the fbi is trying to figure out if americans went along with this potential crime and you have maybe one of the biggest developments in washington this week, and that's even if you didn't see it shared on your social media feed. i'm honored to say that greg gordon joins us, he's co-author of the mcclatchy story and curt bardella, former aide to republican darrell issa. greg, what did you find here that we didn't cover in the intro? >> now with the intro, it was pretty good, ari. >> thanks, brother. i think one of the interesting
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things is according to the source, some of these bot attacks or robotic-like computer commands that sent these social media messages flying across the internet landscape is that they were strategically timed or appeared to be strategically timed to give trump a boost at times when he was on the defensive during the campaign. of course, on october 8th, you had as you mentioned, the tmz video that went up that created a stir, took all the headlines away from trump and except the bad ones and then came -- came these bot attacks that changed the subject for a lot of people and their twitter and facebook feeds. >> right. and hijacking that as we know, particularly for voters who rely on social media, the internet for information, we're talking on national news, we have impact, but a lot of folks get their information other places.
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kurt, listen here, i'll read from greg's piece about how this works, russia using trolls, computer operatives, pretending to be trump supporters, posting stories and comments on the internet, complementary to trump or disparaging to sources close to the inquiry, the federal inquiry, say the operatives likely work from a facility in st. petersburg, russia, dedicated to that tactic. from your time working with breitbart, do you think most folks working there had any idea something like this might be going on? >> it is tough to say really who knew what if anything, and what type of collusion if anything happened like that was really going on. i think if anything all of this underscores why there needs to be an independent investigation looking at the totality of what the interference from russia was, who was involved, who knew what, what campaign officials within the trump administration, then the trump campaign may have known about it or been interacting with anyone in russia who was trying to propel gate this type of attack on our
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demoacy and our process. there is so many unswered questions, ari, a there is nothing more sacred than our democratic process. and the idea that this was so widefully interfered with is incredibly troubling and it is the one issue that we cannot allow to go unanswered and unaddressed, because this is the heart of what our country is about. >> and, greg, almost the words fail us, words like troll or bot almost seem to maybe diminish how important this is, maybe because there are new terms and troll sounds like someone bothering you on a website, this is more than trolling, if it is a foreign adversary. john podesta saying the impact was corrosive. he said the distribution channels were flooded with this info. perhaps we underestimated the strategy of pushing fake news out through social media and how it impacted the race. your reporting suggests what about how much this did affect
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votes? >> well, that's not something that we have the ability to gauge. i don't know how you would ever determine that. you're going to have -- that would require an extraordinarily expensive survey and probably some kind of analysis of where these things are targeted most so you could -- you could at least do it somehow scientifically. >> you could back into it, greg, if russia or the u.s. authorities have come to any determinations about whether this was noise or impactful. >> i've heard the intelligence officials, i think, james clapper said at a news conference when they first announced the declassification of their report stating that vladimir putin was behind all this, that they did not measure how it affected -- >> they had not yet done that. before i go, cukurt, leaving yo old boss or colleague or client,
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steve bannon, in the news, you said here, with regard to his approach to health care, that's the bannon we know, and love, #dictator. you think he's showing dictatorial tendencies in the white house? >> i think everyone is finding out what a lot of us who worked with him in past have known for very long time, that steve bannon is a my way or the highway type of dictatorial figure. if anything, he's probably encouraging the president now that the mistake along the way was not being more forceful, not being more going into people's faces, going into their districts during this health care discussion, rather than playing nice. bannon is all about force. and all about showing everyone what the consequences are, if you don't fall in line. and i think that as we turn the page to potentially tax reform and the debt ceiling showdown that is about to happen, you might see a much more forceful president in engaging some of these republican detractors. >> greg and kurt, thank you so much. you are watching the point on msnbc. you can tweet your questions, comments at the #thepoint. more next hour. and that's whene're going to have the report we promised on
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